Episode 3: Nishta J. Mehra—Writing At The Intersection Of Myriad Identities

EPISODE SUMMARY

Nishta J. Mehra is the author of the new book BROWN WHITE BLACK: An American Family at the Intersection of Race, Gender, Sexuality, and Religion. She is also the proud first-generation daughter of Indian immigrants and a longtime educator. We talked about her book, interracial adoption, gender fluidity, and gendered expectations surrounding hair. Nishta also discussed the need for other communities of color to work against anti-blackness and both the frustration and the freedom of making it up as you go along when navigating intersecting identities.

EPISODE NOTES

NISHTA J. MEHRA is the proud first-generation daughter of Indian immigrants and the author of two essay collections: The Pomegranate King, self-published in 2013, and Brown White Black, published by Picador in February 2019. A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Mehra now lives with her wife, Jill, and their six-year-old, Shiv, in Phoenix. She spends her days working as a high-school English teacher, cooking for friends & family, reading as voraciously as possible, and hiking on South Mountain whenever she gets the chance. Connect with her via her website, nishtajmehra.com and on Twitter & Instagram @nishtajmehra

Jillian Bessett: The voice in the intro and outro belong to songwriter Jillian Bessett. Jillian Bessett is a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist whose evocative lyrics and welcoming stage presence have endeared her to audiences throughout the southwest music scene. Jillian is currently writing music and gigging with her new favorite instrument the Boss RC-505 Looping Station.

Referenced in the interview:

The Blue Jean Gourmet: Nishta’s food blog.

Nishta’s essay “Black is the Color Of My True Love’s Hair,” published in Guernica.

Redefining Realness by Janet Mock

From his interview for On Being with Krista Tippett, Jon Kabat-Zinn: “And one of the things that we say in there is of all the spiritual practices, you know, no matter how severe the monastery and how arduous the particular practices associated with it, living with children is probably the most powerful spiritual practice that anybody could ever be engaged in if you open yourself to it that way. I like to look at them as when they’re little as little living Zen masters that are sort of parachuted into our lives to push all our buttons and see how we’re going to work with the challenges they throw at us in addition to, of course, having to put food on the table, pay the rent, build a career, have a loving relationship, you know …”

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